Why Top Newspaper Groups Are Pitching New ‘Solutions’ to the Ad Market (Part 2)

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With ad revenues migrating inexorably toward the giant digital platforms of Facebook and Google, local newspapers struggle to convince marketers they are an effective buy? But how do you outshout competitors who can assemble, in many demographic and behavioral shapes and sizes, an audience of well over a billion users? To tell their story more convincingly, the top four newspaper groups — Gannett, Tribune Publishing, McClatchy and Hearst — have formed the national network Nucleus Marketing Solutions.

In a Q&A with Street Fight yesterday, Seth Rogin, President and  CEO of NMS, talked about the new network’s combined proposition of quality editorial content and audience scale. In today’s follow-up, Christian Hendricks, the longtime leader of McClatchy’s digital operations who was recently promoted to VP of Products, Marketing and Promotion at the chain of 29 dailies, looks at NMS from the perspective of one of its four founding newspaper groups.

As the digital leader at McClatchy, you were instrumental in the 2013 founding of the Local Media Consortium, which today includes more than 1,600 digital platforms of 66 newspaper and broadcasting groups — and you are currently LMC’s Chairman. What does Nucleus Marketing Solutions add to the revenue-pulling capability of LMC members?
Nucleus and the LMC complement each other as both seek to make buying high-quality premium publisher inventory available to national advertisers in an efficient manner at scale.

Through shared affiliate members and a close relationship with LMC, Nucleus’ direct sales force will be able to provide national sales pressure to LMC member inventory as Nucleus creates compelling digital advertising opportunities for customers.

Seth Rogin’s pitch is that NMS combines quality editorial content and audience scale. But doesn’t LMC do that too?
From a digital solutions perspective, the two do indeed provide quality and scale. The complementary nature of the two efforts clearly makes this a win-win.

Will NMS bring to its publishers any demographic and behavioral profile data of its audiences that they don’t already get from LMC?
Again, the two are complementary and will work together to provide customers with access to high-quality premium inventory and audiences.

Christian Hendricks, VP of Products, Marketing and Promotion at McC;atchy
Christian Hendricks, VP of Products, Marketing and Promotion at McC;atchy

How about CPMs for programmatic ad buys — will NMC be able to do anything to push them higher?
We believe increasing demand or “pressure” on Nucleus and LMC’s high-quality premium inventory will result in higher CPMs. The LMC has experienced this during the past year and the potential of adding more demand should do the same.

Could associate members of NMS include any members of LMC besides McClatchy?
Absolutely. We expect both NMS and LMC to continue to grow affiliates and, naturally, crossover to exist. As I’ve said the two efforts are complementary, not competitive.

If Facebook and Google are capturing 85% of new digital ad revenue, as reported recently by the New York Times, quoting Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak, will NMS be able to bend that curve down?
One of the key goals of both NMS and LMC is to help increase its affiliates share of total digital advertising spend.

Tom GrubisichTom Grubisich (@TomGrubisich) writes “The New News” column for Street Fight. He is editorial director of hyperlocal news network Local America, and is also working on a book about the history, present, and future of Charleston, S.C.